I watched the second episodes of both Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas) and (written by and Josh Schwartz) last night. I thought they both suffered from the same problem. Both have solid franchises and lots of charm. Both have the funny down pat. But I think they’re both floundering story wise.(written by
In Chuck, we picked up where the last episode ended with Chuck adjusting to the new life and he and his two new secret agent cohorts still negotiating their deal. When a mystery-of-the-week finally began to emerge, Casey and Sarah became the suspects and Chuck bounced from believing one to believing the other.
In Reaper, the mystery-of-the-week — or more accurately in this case, monster-of-the-week — emerged early with the appearance of the box from the Devil. But Sam spent at least half the episode rejecting the mission and trying to get rid of the box instead of opening it and finding the monster.
I feel cheated. I think the pilots of both series promised us that we would see our loser/nerds turned heroes go out and save the world. The pilots were about setting up the premise. We get it. We don’t need another set up episode. Let’s get to the main event.
I don’t want to see Reaper’s Sam rejecting his mission. I want to see him catch weird and wacky monsters.
I don’t want to Chuck to waste his weekly spy mission time suspecting Sarah and Casey. I want to know what kind of spy missions he’s going to tackle — I’m expecting some fun villains in the tradition of Get Smart and Austin Powers. But I don’t know if that’s really who the bad guys will be two episodes in.
Both shows could to be running two storylines in tandem: a case-of-the-week and a personal story for the lead.
This week, Chuck allowed the two storylines to become entwined. Keep them separate. Chuck can still suspect Sarah and Casey and also pursue a romance with Sarah, but he needs to be embroiled in a funny and exciting episodic plot as well.
Reaper was a little closer to the two story model, but the stories didn’t run side by side. The plotlines about whether Sam should tell his mom and whether he’d get a date with Andy were like bookends at the top and tail of the show. And way too much screen time was spent playing the same “I’m not going to do it” beat as Sam refused his call to action.
You can’t refuse the call to action. That’s the show.
Ditto for making Sarah and Casey the suspects in Chuck. Yes, they are suspect, but that show is about trying to save the world when you can’t trust the people at your side.
Let’s hope they get to the actual series next week. I really do understand the premise. I like it. I want them to deliver it now.